IHC hints at suspending plots for govt, CDA officials

Published: April 8, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday hinted that it may suspend plots for top bureaucrats and officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for their alleged negligence in enforcing building and construction by-laws in the capital.

“Why not [suspend] allotment of plots to CDA officials and the federal secretaries … till [such a time] it is demonstrated that rules and regulations are being enforced within the Islamabad Capital Territory,” Justice Athar Minallah stated in his order.

One Constitution Avenue case: Govt likely to keep control of building, for now

The court further directed the petitioners, CDA, Ministry of Interior and the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to submit questionnaires as well as suggestions to solve the issue.

The directions came during the hearing of a petition from 38 affectees of the One Constitution Avenue case on Friday.

During the hearing, Justice Minallah observed that rules and regulations were not being enforced over violations of laws by different properties located in the capital.

He added that he “wished to see practical action than just reports regarding violations of by-laws.”

The observation came after Kashif Malik, the CDA’s lawyer, submitted a detailed report regarding illegal, unauthorised construction detected in commercial buildings in sectors F, G and I.

He has also submitted a list of plots which had been cancelled for non-payment, unauthorised construction, non-conforming use, non-compliance within stipulated time, unauthorised trade and court orders.

Cancel utility services

The petitioners had urged the court to direct the civic body to fulfil its obligations and to cancel utility services to buildings to whom completion certificates and occupancy rights have not yet been issued.

Through their counsel Ali Raza, the petitioners had sought court directions for CDA to act immediately without discrimination against all illegally constructed and occupied buildings.

Mechanism for determining loss

Moreover, Malik informed the court that they have had consultative meetings with the CDA as well as with the interior ministry to devise a mechanism for determining the loss to the victims of the under-construction building meant for the Grand Hyatt Hotel at One Constitution Avenue.

One Constitution Avenue case: Flats built, sold were illegal

The meetings were held in light of the March 3 judgment of the IHC which dismissed all petitions challenging CDA’s move to cancel the lease of the One Constitution Avenue, upholding the civic agency’s July 2016 decision.

Malik said that the CDA was publishing public notices asking flat owners in the property to contact the CDA with requisite documents.

The civic body’s counsel said that the matter would be placed before the CDA’s board and, thereafter, a reference to the federal government would be taken in the comings days.

Building control authority

Meanwhile, documents submitted to the court revealed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been in consultations with relevant authorities to set up a building control authority.

CDA’s counsel said that following directions from Nawaz, numerous meetings had been held by the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Law at the law ministry to establish the authority. He added that further steps in devising a proposed legislation for the authority were also being looked into.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2017.

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